When I first learned I was lactose intolerant in 1978, me and a few Neanderthals, not only did nobody know nothing about LI but the number of dairy-free alternative products - all aimed at those with allergies - could be counted by a four-year-old. The ones that did exist, well, Coffee Rich was already around so they weren't all horribly bad, but you wanted to stay far, far away from the rest. Especially blocks of stinky white stuff that called itself non-dairy cheese.
A food industry that today gives you everything from hot dog and fries on a stick to egg foam with chive infusion can certainly get a mere substitute for cheese correct, can't it?
I've been listing non-dairy substitutes on my website for over 10 years. And I know that the look of the site hasn't been updated since then, and that some of the information there is obsolete, with new stuff missing. Sorry. That's a thousand hours I don't have. Much of the information is still good, though, and at least it gives you an idea of the range of items that are available, inside any one category and over all the various categories that non-dairy covers.
Two years ago, I let you know about the introduction of one particular non-dairy cheese that made a huge splash, Daiya Vegan "Cheese". Since then, Daiya has received much more praise around the web. Not only is it acclaimed as especially tasty, but it's not soy-based, often a problem for people with multiple allergies. Daiya uses tapioca and/or arrowroot flours, which they claim make it unusually allergen-free. (That's a change from earlier, when they used cassava rather than tapioca.)
Jezebel, a major women's blog, has a nice feature called Worth It:
Worth It, our daily recommendation of random things that we've actually spent our own money on. These are the things we buy regularly or really like, things we'd actually tell our friends about. And now we're telling you.
On November 25, 2011, the daily worth it was Daiya.
And the review is glowing.
Daiya cheese is the best substitute cheese of all the substitute cheeses!
I feel pretty qualified to say this — because I've tried so, so many kinds of fake cheese — the only cheese that melts enough to make a quesadillas, grilled cheese, and macaroni and cheese is Daiya. When I stopped eating dairy products, one of the biggest voids left in my eating habits was pizza. Every time I would make homemade pizza — I really, really missed pizza, you guys — it always failed my expectations. Until (surprise!) I tried making pizza with Daiya. It melts, and it melts unlike any other kind of fake cheese I've tried.
What that page doesn't say, and you should know, is that Daiya has a short shelf life once opened, no more than 10 days. You can freeze it, however, and only thaw as much as you'll need at one time.